Family movie reviews for Nov. 8

By Roger Moore

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

THOR: THE DARK WORLD

Rating: PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence, and some suggestive content |

What it’s about: Thor must battle Dark Elves who plan to use a dark force to end the nine worlds as they converge.

The kid attractor factor: Big blond dude with the hammer, beating up other big dudes. And Natalie Portman and Kat Dennings.

Good lessons / bad lessons: Sometimes, a little treason is justified to ensure the greater good.

Violence: Lots and lots — bashings, throat slashings, stabbings and shootings.

Language: A healthy scattering of profanity, much of it from Kat Dennings.

Sex: Shirtless Thor and the ladies who admire that.

Drugs: None.

Parents’ advisory: Lighter-hearted than most comic book adaptations, suitable for 8-and-up.

ALL IS LOST

Rating: PG-13 for brief strong language

What it’s about: An old man sailing alone around the world is confronted with his mortality after his sailboat starts to sink.

The kid attractor factor: Peril at sea, problem solving when you’re the only one you can count on to save yourself.

Good lessons / bad lessons: As long as there is life, hope is never lost.

Violence: A bloody injury, the threat of drowning.

Language: One epic and justified swear word.

Sex: Not a hint.

Drugs: None.

Parents’ advisory: Young kids might find watching a movie with no dialogue a challenge, but this is certainly suitable for 10-and-up.

ENDER’S GAME

Rating: PG-13 for some violence, sci-fi action and thematic material.

What it’s about: A gifted boy is singled out for leadership in a future when the young and the video-game savvy are our best warriors and our greatest military leaders.

The kid attractor factor: Kids, mastering training games, battling each other and bug-eyed aliens.

Good lessons / bad lessons: The killer instinct comes easily; compassion and empathy you grow into.

Violence: Bullying, fistfights, blood, a death.

Language: Pretty tame.

Sex: Not even flirtation.

Drugs: None.

Parents’ advisory: Humorless, dark and brooding, this isn’t sci-fi for the very young. Suitable for 10-and-up, though.

FREE BIRDS

Rating: PG for some action / peril and rude humor

What it’s about: Two turkeys travel back in time to change the menu at the first Thanksgiving.

The kid attractor factor: Animated turkeys, in 3-D, outsmarting colonists back then and Haz-Mat suited soldiers today.

Good lessons / bad lessons: “When you’re in a flock, you know you belong to something bigger.”

Violence: Nothing graphic, though the fate of turkeys during the holidays is revealed.

Language: Disney clean, even the “rude humor” bits.

Sex: Flirting turkeys, lots of discussion of the muscles in turkey butts.

Drugs: None.

Parents’ advisory: Tame enough for the whole family, suitable for all ages.

JACKASS PRESENTS: BAD GRANDPA

Rating: R for strong crude and sexual content throughout, language, some graphic nudity and brief drug use.

What it’s about: Johnny Knoxville, in old age makeup, and a kid drive across country staging bad parenting / dirty old man pranks on the unsuspecting.

The kid attractor factor: Johnny Knoxville’s big, crude and sometimes painful pratfalls.

Good lessons / bad lessons: People who “get involved” in other people’s parenting get punked.

Violence: Slapstick stuff, threats.

Language: Profanity, some of it from a small boy.

Sex: Genital jokes and genital sight gags, a male stripper review.

Drugs: Crack jokes, alcohol is consumed, allegedly by the kid.

Parents’ advisory: Seriously subversive and sophomoric, too crude for the very young — OK for 13-and-up.

CARRIE

Rating: R for bloody violence, disturbing images, language and some sexual content.

What it’s about: The bullied daughter of a religious fanatic gets even at prom.

The kid attractor factor: It’s a high school revenge fantasy starring Chloe Grace Moretz.

Good lessons / bad lessons: Mend your bullying ways before it’s too late.

Violence: Yes, and quite bloody.

Language: Teenagers and teachers curse.

Sex: Some.

Drugs: Alcohol is discussed.

Parents’ advisory: Decidedly anti-bullying, it’s still the violent “Carrie” you remember from the ‘70s. OK for 15-and-up.

ESCAPE PLAN

Rating: R for violence and language throughout

What it’s about: A security consultant and his new prison buddy try to figure out a way to escape from a new escape-proof prison.

The kid attractor factor: Action, and lots of it, starring guys old enough to be your grandfather.

Good lessons / bad lessons: “Always have a Plan B.”

Violence: Stabbings, shootings, neck-snappings.

Language: In prison, there is profanity.

Sex: Not in this prison.

Drugs: None.

Parents’ advisory: Too violent for young children, but far more responsible than your average “Expendables” or “Last Man Standing.” OK for 13-and-up.

THE FIFTH ESTATE

Rating: R for language and some violence

What it’s about: A young computer hacker is enlisted to join Julian Assange’s crusade to end government and big business secrecy on the Internet.

The kid attractor factor: Hacker intrigues, online crisis management, and Benedict Cumberbatch

Good lessons / bad lessons: “Give a man a mask and he will tell you the truth.”

Violence: More implied than overt.

Language: Profanity.

Sex: Nothing graphic, but famous online freedom of speech crusaders do hook up, occasionally.

Drugs: Alcohol is consumed at parties.

Parents’ advisory: If they’re old enough to recognize the international anarchist’s symbol, they should understand this. Suitable for 15-and-up.

ROMEO AND JULIET

Rating: PG-13 for some violence and thematic elements

What it’s about: The greatest star-crossed romance of them all.

The kid attractor factor: Young people, played by Hailee Steinfeld and Douglas Booth, getting all hot and bothered.

Good lessons / bad lessons: To paraphrase Andy Griffith, unless you want the expense of a double funeral, spring for a cheap wedding when young love rears its head.

Violence: Bloody sword fights, brawls and poisonings.

Language: Shakespearean put downs

Sex: Suggested, not nearly as hot and bothered as you’d expect.

Drugs: Wine, poisons

Parents’ advisory: A bit younger and a tad more violent than most adaptations, suitable for 13-and-up.

CAPTAIN PHILLIPS

Rating: PG-13 for sustained intense sequences of menace, some violence with bloody images, and for substance use

What it’s about: A cargo ship’s captain and crew battles hijackers off the Somali coast.

The kid attractor factor: A true story action picture about crazed young men with guns and the unarmed merchant sailors who try to outsmart them.

Good lessons / bad lessons: Solving problems with violence only begets more violence.

Violence: Shootings, a stabbing, blood.

Language. Only in the subtitles.

Sex: Not a hint.

Drugs: Cigarettes and the Somali narcotic leaf “khat” are consumed.

Parents’ advisory: A bit long and too violent for younger viewers, suitable for 12-and-up.

GRAVITY

Rating: PG-13 for intense perilous sequences, some disturbing images and brief strong language

What it’s about: An accident during a spacewalk strands two astronauts in orbit.

The kid attractor factor: Science fiction that isn’t far beyond the realm of the possible, the realistic terrors of space.

Good lessons / bad lessons: Don’t give up, because “There’s always something you can do.”

Violence: Deaths, corpses in zero gravity

Language: People under duress curse. On Earth or in space.

Sex: None, though Sandra Bullock has a “suit up” moment.

Drugs: None.

Parents’ advisory: Entirely too intense for younger children, entirely suitable for 10-and-up.

RUSH

Rating: R for sexual content, nudity, language, some disturbing images and brief drug use

What it’s about: Formula One racing rivals James Hunt and Niki Lauda battle on and off the track in the swinging ‘70s.

The kid attractor factor: Fast cars, one of them driven by Thor (Chris Hemsworth).

Good lessons / bad lessons: “A wise man gets more from his enemies than a fool from his friends.”

Violence: High speed crashes, grisly after-effects.

Language: Some profanity.

Sex: Olivia Wilde plays James Hunt’s girlfriend, so guess.

Drugs: It was the ‘70s, so yes.

Parents’ advisory: If they’re old enough to be into cars and the opposite sex, they might enjoy this period piece. Suitable for 13-and-up.

CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS 2

Rating: PG for mild rude humor

What it’s about: The weather machine starts turning out living, feeding dinner course critters in this sequel.

The kid attractor factor: It’s a 3-D animated sequel to the surprise hit of a couple of years back.

Good lessons / bad lessons: “A bully turned friend will be friend to the end.”

Violence: Slapstick, cartoonish, involving omnivorous foodstuffs and robot-suited “Sentinels of Safety.”

Language: “Oh, crab-balls,” fart jokes and the like.

Parents’ advisory: Suitable for all ages.

BAGGAGE CLAIM

Rating: PG-13 for sexual content and some language

What it’s about: A young woman revisits her ex-boyfriends to see which one has the most promise as a potential date / mate for her sister’s wedding.

The kid attractor factor: Airline travel jokes, romantic mishaps, Paula Patton and assorted good-looking men as her suitors.

Good lessons / bad lessons: You don’t need a mate to be complete, and you can’t hurry love.

Violence: The threat of a slap-fight, here and there.

Language: Some mild profanity

Sex: Hinted at, with infidelity tossed into the mix.

Drugs: Alcohol is consumed in romantic settings.

Parents’ advisory: More retro than risque in its attitudes towards marriage, romance and finding a suitable mate, suitable for 13-and-older.

BATTLE OF THE YEAR

Rating: PG-13 for language and some rude behavior

What it’s about: A team of B-Boys (break dancers) is assembled to battle the world’s best and coached by a guy who no longer dances.

The kid attractor factor: Dancing hotties of the male (and one female) persuasion.

Good lessons / bad lessons: “Change how you think, change your life.”

Violence: Fisticuffs.

Language. B-Boy profanity

Sex: No, though the consequences of having babies too young comes up.

Drugs: None.

Parents’ advisory: Clean enough for teens and tweens, suitable for 12-and-up.

THE FAMILY

Rating: R for violence, language and brief sexuality

What it’s about: A mob family in the witness protection program wreaks havoc in a small French town.

The kid attractor factor: Funny / violent mobsters and mob teens, including that hot blonde from “Glee!” (Dianna Agron).

Good lessons / bad lessons: “Asking politely with a gun in your hand is better than asking politely with nothing.”

Violence: Graphic, sometimes grisly, excessive.

Language: Lots of mob-friendly profanity.

Sex: Yes, fairly explicit, too.

Drugs: Yes, prescription drug abuse is implied, with booze and cigarettes too.

Parents’ advisory: Incredibly violent, with mortal violence played for laughs. Take the R rating seriously, suitable for 16-and-up.

RIDDICK

Rating: R for strong violence, language and some sexual content/nudity

What it’s about: Everybody’s favorite night-blind spree killer of the future returns to the planet where it all began.

The kid attractor factor: Vin Diesel, narrating, killing, befriending a digital alien dog.

Good lessons/bad lessons: It’s never too late to revive a sci-fi franchise that made you rich.

Violence: Plentiful, graphic.

Language: Some profanity.

Sex: Nudity, flirtation.

Drugs: None.

Parents’ advisory: The tone is a bit juvenile, especially the sexual stuff, but the violence is quite gory. OK for 15-and-up.

THE WORLD’S END

Rating: R for pervasive language including sexual references.

What it’s about: A group of former friends in their 40s re-unite to recreate an epic “crawl” through the pubs of the small British town where they grew up. But something’s changed.

The kid attractor factor: It’s a science fiction-action comedy featuring the lads who made the zombie romp “Shaun of the Dead.”

Good lessons / bad lessons: Our bad decisions, temperamental testiness and abuse of alcohol are what make us human. Or at least British.

Violence: Sci-fi action, peril, deaths — mostly played for laughs.

Language: Blistering blasts of blotto Brit profanity

Sex: None.

Drugs: Pot is purchased, alcohol is consumed — pretty much constantly.

Parents’ advisory: The mass consumption of beer should give any parent pause. Take the R-rating and the “suitable for 17-and-up” warning seriously.

Sex: None.

Drugs: Martinis are downed, olives are devoured

Parents’ advisory: You may have to take the car keys away from older teens after this one, but still suitable for 10-and-up.

“THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS: CITY OF BONES”

Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of fantasy violence and action, and some suggestive content

What it’s about: A teenager learns her genetic destiny — as a descendant of a family that defends the world from demons.

The kid attractor factor: Lily Collins starring in the first of Cassandra Clare’s fantasy novels to hit the screen.

Good lessons/bad lessons: “To love is to destroy.”

Violence: Quite a lot of it, some of it bloody.

Language: A teensy bit of profanity.

Sex: Flirting, jokes about character’s homosexual or bisexual tendencies.

Drugs: Alcohol is sipped.

Parents’ advisory: If they’re old enough for the books, they’re old enough for the movie. OK for 12-and-up.

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